Cronkhite–Canada syndrome is a rare syndrome characterized by multiple polyps of the digestive tract. It is sporadic (i.e. it does not seem to be a hereditary disease), and it is currently considered acquired and idiopathic (i.e. cause remains unknown).
About two-thirds of patients are of Japanese descent and the male to female ratio is 2:1. It was characterized in 1955.
Polyps are most frequent in the stomach and large intestine, are also found in the small intestine, and are least frequent in the esophagus. A biopsy will reveal them to be hamartomas; the possibility that they progress to cancer is generally considered to be low, although it has been reported multiple times in the past. Chronic diarrhea and protein-losing enteropathy are often observed. Possible collateral features include variable anomalies of ectodermal tissues, such as alopecia, atrophy of the nails, or skin pigmentation
The cause of the disease is unknown. It was originally thought that the epidermal changes were secondary to profound malnutrition as a result of protein-losing enteropathy. Recent findings have called this hypothesis into question; specifically, the hair and nail changes may not improve with improved nutrition.
Other conditions consisting of multiple hamartomatous polyps of the digestive tract include Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, juvenile polyposis, and Cowden disease. Related polyposis conditions are familial adenomatous polyposis, attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis, Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome and MUTYH.